This past weekend fight fans in Sanda, Hyogo, may have expected to see Riku Kano (14-4-1, 7) [加納 陸] battle against Indonesian journeyman Mektison Marganti (5-10-1, 3) in a WBC Youth Light Flyweight title clash, which was originally arranged as part of a triple header of youth title action. That bout was however rescheduled at late notice due to Kano suffering a minor injury.
Today we have been informed that the bout has now got a new date, and that date is May 26th, just 3 weeks after the original date. Not only has Kano had his return rescheduled, but it will be against his original foe as well.
The bout has now been added to the May 26th Mutoh promoted card at the Osaka City University, making that card a triple header.
As mentioned the card now features 3 title bouts, with the previously announced WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title bout, between Masahiro Sakamoto (13-2, 9) [坂本真宏] and Yusuke Sakashita (17-8-3, 12) [阪下優友], and the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title bout, between champion Ben Mananquil (17-1-3, 4) and Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹]. This Youth title bout is scheduled on the show between those two regional title bouts.
Although Kano's addition to the upcoming show does add something to it, it is still a shame that he removed from the card this past weekend, where he would have added a lot more to a smaller show. We are however very glad that the youngster's injury wasn't too significant and that it's only set him back weeks, and not months.
Interestingly he would likely have had his bout added to the TV Osaka youtube channel had he fought this past weekend, inside we're now expecting his bout to be featured on Boxing Raise along with the rest of the card.
Earlier today at the Osaka City University the Mutoh gym announced a double header for May, with both of the main bouts being for WBO Asia Pacific titles.
One of those bouts will be for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. That bout will see former champion, and former world title challenger, Masahiro Sakamoto (13-2, 9) [坂本真宏] battle against Yusuke Sakashita (17-8-3, 12) [阪下優友] .
For Sakamoto this will be his first bout since losing to IBF world champion Moruti Mthalane at the very end of 2018, and he will be looking to reclaim the title he vacated for that world title fight. Sakashita on the other hand will be looking to build on a recent bit win over former OPBF champion Keisuke Nakayama. Interestingly this will be Sakashita's second title bout and comes more than 4 years after he was spectacularly knocked out by Suguru Muranaka in a Japanese Flyweight title bout.
The other title bout will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Ben Mananquil (17-1-3, 4), from the Filipino, defending his title against former OPBF title challenger Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹], in what could be a very intriguing match up.
Mananquil won the title earlier this year, beating Tenta Kiyose in Japan, whilst Kobayashi's last fight came in December, where he lost to Keita Kurihara in a thrilling 12 round bout that was marred by time keeper errors. This will b a highly skilled match up and should a tough one to call, given how much Kobayashi has improved in recent years.
The bouts will take place on May 26th in Osaka City, with sources in forming us the University's gym has been selected to host the bouts.
Earlier today in Japan fight fans in Himeji, were able to see a new WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion being crowned as the often over-looked Ben Mananquil (17-1-3, 4) over-came Japan's very own Tenta Kiyose (15-3-1, 7) [清瀬天太] to claim the previously vacant title.
The Filipino visitor got off to a great start not only winning the opening round but being in the lead on all 3 cards after 3 rounds. He seemed to catch Kiyose making a really slow start whilst landing his own southpaw hooks on the taller man, who struggled to get off. It wasn't until round 4 that Kiyose took a clear round, though it was only momentary success with Mananquil settling the following round and taking many of the middle rounds, most notably the 8th.
The 8th round saw Mananquil have his biggest single moment, dropping Mananquil to secure a 10-8 round. By then the bout was essentially tied up and all Mananquil had to do was see out the final 4 rounds, which he did without too many issues, even if he did go on to lose many of those later rounds as he cruised to the final bell.
At the end of 12 rounds it was hard to see any results other than a win for Mananquil, who took the win with scores of 116-113, 116-111 and 114-113, which was far too close.
This was a second notable result for Mananquil, who had fought to a questionable draw with Hinata Maruta last year whilst it's Kiyose's first loss since since the 2015 All Japan Rookie of the Year final to Matcha Nakagawa.
Tomorrow fight fans in Himeji will get the chance to see a new WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion being crowned with once beaten Filipino Ben Mananquil (16-1-3, 4) battling against local hopeful Tenta Kiyose (15-2-1, 7) [清瀬天太] for the vacant title, which was vacated in 2018 by Hiroaki Teshigawara.
Today, ahead of their fight, the two fighters took part in their weigh in.
On the scales Mananquil was the much heavier man weight in at 117.7lbs. He has fought much of his career at at Bantamweiight, and this is around his usual weight. In fact it's slightly heavier than he was last time out, when he stopped Oleydong Sithsamerchai, but well under his highest weight, which was 121.75lbs for his 2017 bout against Joe Tejones. As well as being the heavier man he was also the taller man.
The Filipino on the other hand was well under the limit, weighing in at 115.5lbs, just over the Super Flyweight limit. This is the lowest Mananquil has been in over 4 years. Incientally the last time he came in lighter he was 113.5lbs for a bout at Flyweight, coming in over the limit for that bout. He has typically been fighting at Bantamweight and Super Bantamweight recently, so there's no clear explanation as to why he's so light here. This bout will be Mananquil's second successive bout against a Japanese foe, following a controversial draw last year against Hinata Maruta.
For fans wanting to watch this but can't make it to Himeji, it will be available On Demand on Boxingraise over the coming days, but will not be shown live over the service.
Related - Mananquil and Kiyose battle for WBO regional honours! (Preview)
Earlier this month we reported that Hiroaki Teshigawara (17-2-2, 10) [勅使河原 弘晶] was moving up in weight to face off with Filipino Glenn Suminguit (21-3, 11) for the OPBF Super Bantamweight title. As a result of this Teshigawara has vacated the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title.
Today we saw the news break that the new vacancy will be filled in January 2019, with Ben Mananquil (16-1-3, 4) battling against Tenta Kiyose (15-2-1, 7) [清瀬天太] for the belt on January 27th in Himeji, Hyogo.
Manaquil recently fought to a draw with Hinata Maruta and that draw seems to have helped him secure this bout. That bout was fought at Super Bantamweight but Mananquil has fought as low as Minimumweight, very early in his career, and his natural weight now is probably Bantamweight, which he has fought at regularly in recent years. That draw ended a 6 fight winning run for Mananquil, which included notable victories over Glenn Porras and Jess Rhey Waminal.
Coming into this bout Kiyose will be riding an 8 fight winning run, including wins over Joe Tejones, for the WBC Youth Super Bantamweight title, and former world champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai. He has rebuilt really well since a 2015 loss to Matcha Nakagawa and, like Mananquil, can seemingly fight at either 118lbs or 122lbs with no real issue.
Nothing else is known about this show, but this is a great bout, and we believe the first Japanese bout to be announced for 2019!
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